Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/24/14 at 02:03 PM ET
from Curtis Zupke at the LA Kings website,
Most of the talk after Game 2 of the Western Conference Final has been about the offensive explosion by the Los Angeles Kings, who tied a franchise Stanley Cup Playoff record with five goals in the third period against the Chicago Blackhawks.
What might be overlooked is what helped lead to those goals.
In a series between two puck-possession teams, the Kings simply had the puck more in Game 2 because they won 43 faceoffs to Chicago's 27. That bodes well for Los Angeles going into Game 3 on Saturday night at Staples Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS). The best of-7-series is tied 1-1.
The Kings have strength down the middle with Anze Kopitar, who won 15 of 21 faceoffs in Game 2, and Jarret Stoll, who won 14 of 22 primarily against Chicago's Jonathan Toews, Michal Handzus and Marcus Kruger.
"If you can start with the puck, regardless of who you're playing, that helps," said Kings captain Dustin Brown, who plays with Kopitar and Marian Gaborik. "You notice when you're on the ice more than when you're not. I don't know what his percentage was, but [Kopitar], it seems like he hardly lost any draws, and as a result, we play a lot less in the D-zone, which is important, especially against Toews and [Marian] Hossa and [Bryan] Bickell, because they're not easy guys to defend."
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